Electrical Outlet Stopped Working

Troubleshooting the reason an outlet has stopped working is the first step to your repair or replacement decision. This is a guide about electrical outlet stopped working.
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November 7, 2016 Flag

I plugged my vacuum and straightening iron into my outlets on the exact opposite side of the dressing room table. I have another outlet, a lamp is plugged in that one. I plugged my vacuum and straightening iron same outlet vacuum worked for a few minutes then went out! The outlet stopped working! The breaker was on on position! I flipped it off and on, but that didn't work. Would it help if I shut off the main breaker? And then flipped it back on again?

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November 26, 20160 found this helpful

I was vacuum the house. The extension cord was plug into on of the outlet in the dining room when suddenly the vacuum stopped working. I check the electrical panel and everything was okay. I resent all the outlets and still not working.

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February 13, 20170 found this helpful

Call your electrician.

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February 23, 2015 Flag

My wife pluged a Vicks vapor machine into our bedroom outlet. The outlet stopped working. The the vapor machine and my ceiling fan with lights also quit working. I put in a new plug and checked the wiring in the fan. All the wires are connected and there are no burn spots on the wires. How do I fix it?

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By Kris

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February 25, 20150 found this helpful
Best Answer

Beginning with 1999, Arc Fault Circuit Protection was required for bedrooms in dwelling units. Nuisance trips are common with this type of protection and vaporizers. The original protection was at the breaker - the breaker would trip. More recently, the protection could be in the receptacle much like a GFCI receptacle, and daisy chained.

It is possible that if you have AFCI protection at the receptacle (newer home or remodel) , that another receptacle, which provides the protection, has a tripped pushbutton that needs reset.

It would be bad practice to put the light on this circuit, but it could have been done.

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February 24, 20150 found this helpful

Did you check to see if the fuse was OK?

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August 21, 2015 Flag

We have a plug in our kitchen that is a switch for our undercabinet lighting on one side and on the other side is a plug. The plug has suddenly stopped working, even though the light switch is working fine. The breaker is also working fine. We have changed the plug, but it is still not working. Any ideas as to what else we could try?

Thanks!

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August 24, 20150 found this helpful

An electrician could fix this for you.

You need a meter to detect if voltage is present at the receptacle and if the neutral is connected by measuring resistance to ground. There exists a plug in device with three lights that will give you that information.

Another thing to consider is that kitchen receptacles are GFCI protected. It may be that the standard receptacle you replaced is fed from a GFCI receptacle which is tripped. The lighting would not be on the GFCI receptacle. Check to see if any other receptacles are dead, if so I would lean toward a tripped GFCI somewhere.

Good luck.

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August 24, 20150 found this helpful

I like Bruce's first line of advice-- call an electrician. Bruce is an electrician, and can explain these things, but nothing beats having a trained professional fix things for you.

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September 27, 2015 Flag

My plug sockets stopped working. There was no bang or odd noises. I checked the circuit breaker, but nothing was tripped. I have unplugged everything then re-booted it, but nothing! My lights are working though. I need some help please.

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September 28, 20150 found this helpful

The most common cause of outlets failing would be a tripped breaker in your power panel. You have correctly troubleshot the situation by unplugging the connected devices and turning the breaker off then on to reset it. Still, no luck.

The second leading cause of receptacles failing would be a tripped GFCI or AFCI receptacle. One receptacle tripping can take out a whole host of receptacles. Look to see if you have any such receptacles (with a test and reset button) . If that receptacle has no power, try resetting it and hopefully power will restore to the others as well.

It is possible the power for these receptacles have a switch. This hidden switch could be turned off (National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation).

After that you are entering an area best left to an electrician. Something has opened the circuit. Wiring could have overheated and burnt open. A rodent could have chewed through the wire. A breaker could have failed. In a multiple occupancy dwelling (duplex, apartment ...) it is possible another tenant could have opened the circuit from their side of the wall. All of these situations require the knowledge and equipment an electrician would supply.

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September 27, 2014 Flag

I have one outlet in the bedroom that stopped working. I reset all the GFI switches and replaced the outlet, but still no power. Any suggestions?

By Tyrone from Brandywine, MD

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September 29, 20140 found this helpful

Call an electrician.

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January 18, 2011 Flag

I plugged my heater into an outlet; now the outlet doesn't work. I replaced the outlet, but still doesn't work. Two other outlets in the room work and the light works. It didn't knock out the breaker. What could be wrong? Please help.

By Deb from Wheeling, WV

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January 19, 20110 found this helpful

I would try a different appliance in the outlet to see if the outlet in question works. If not then I would reset the circuit breaker and try again. If it still doesn't work it may be the circuit breaker is not working and needs to be replaced. Also try the heater in a different outlet to see if the heater is not working. If the heater does not work then I would say the heater burned out and needs to be replaced.

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January 20, 20110 found this helpful

If you can, try tracing the wiring back to the breaker box. If it goes through a junction box, the wire may have become disconnected there. Please don't keep trying to use the circuit. If you can turn off the breaker, that would be best. If a wire is broken or disconnected it is a fire hazard and should be turned off right away.

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March 4, 2016 Flag

I had a nitelight plugged in. The bulb was loose and I tried to tighten the bulb and it popped; now the outlet doesn't work.

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September 29, 2012 Flag

I moved into a private rented flat today. When I turned on the shower to wash the shower room down and it blew all my sockets, but it hasn't tripped it out on the main board. I have reset the main board, but still nothing is happening. Any ideas what it could be, please anyone? Thanks.

By Adam

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October 1, 20120 found this helpful

Telephone the landlord NOW and ask them to have a professional come in to check the 'on-demand' water heater to the shower-it sounds as though the wiring is wrong on that feature.

Whilst awaiting the service call engineer, do not use any of your electricals on any circuit you think may share with the shower room, and be alert to any electrical overheating (burning plastic smells or a metallic 'tang' in the air). Feel for 'hot spots' along the walls, outlets, and at the mains box-CAREFULLY to avoid burns or shocks.

I think you got very lucky. When I lived in Guatemala (mid-90s) a co-worker was electrocuted in her shower because of faulty wiring in the on-demand shower feature.

Be sure to write down the date and time of the telephone conversation, and what the landlord promised he/she would do to remedy this extremely dangerous situation. You may need the information to prove that you made contact, and to recoup any out of pocket costs associated-for example, if your landlord does not act quickly to repair this you may have to take a hotel room until it is done, or even move out completely should the landlord prove unwilling to sort this immediately.

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March 1, 2014 Flag

The outlet is suddenly dead. The wiring all looks good.The hot wire is hot. I installed a new outlet, it won't work. Any ideas?

By S from southern CA

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January 19, 2014 Flag

We recently redecorated our kitchen. In doing this we changed the positions of some of our plug sockets. These all work fine and have no problems. However, since doing this 4 different plug sockets in 2 separate rooms have stopped working.

We have tested the electrics and using the mains tester pushing straight down it shows no power, but when you angle it to the left and right it shows power, but nothing works once plugged in. Does anybody have any advice? Thanks in advance.

By Jon Rose

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January 6, 2011 Flag

Two of my electrical outlets quit working. It didn't even throw breaker switch, but I did hear a click in the breaker panel.

By Betty

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January 18, 2011 Flag

Why did the electrical outlet in my bathroom stop working? Can they go bad?

By Sharon from Salt Lake City, UT

Answers:

Outlet Stopped Working

Yes they can go bad and it's inexpensive to replace. Go to Home Depot or Lowe's and you can get a new one. Just be sure to turn off the electric current that flows into that plug in at the fuse box first. (11/11/2010)

By Lorelei

Outlet Stopped Working

Bathrooms, kitchens, and outdoor outlets have to be ground fault by electrical code. Your outlet may be of this type. If it is you will find a small button usually located between the upper plug holes and the lower plugs holes. This little button has to be pushed in. Sometimes there is a small light to indicate if there is power or not. If your home is old it may not have this safety feature and you should have an electrician install ground fault outlets everywhere I have mentioned above. It prevents you getting a shock by shutting down the electricity to that plug. (11/12/2010)

By foxrun41

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December 4, 2010 Flag

For no apparent reason, half of the outlets in my basement no longer power my devices, i.e. TV, Blue Ray, surround sound, and window fans. Everything worked fine for the last 10 years and through last night.

My voltage tester indicates power to the outlets. However, when I plug something in, it won't run. If I put the tester on an outlet that indicates "hot"; when I plug something in the outlet next to it the tester indicator light goes out. Any of the affected outlets that indicate "hot" go "cold" when I plug a device into it.

I'm not an electrical guy. Is there something that has gone bad that could cause my outlets to not get enough power or lose voltage? Remember, I'm not an electrical guy so, please make it as plain as possible. Am I gonna be out of a lot of money to an electrician or is this something simple I could fix myself?

By greasedog from Glen Carbon, IL

Answers:

Electrical Outlets Stopped Working

By coincidence, I just paid an electrician ($81) per hour to diagnose and fix the same problem. All of a sudden various switches and outlets stopped, went dead. None of the breaker switches were tripped. The problem? Somebody in the past had changed a particular outlet and when installing the new one did not strip off enough insulation. Thus, there was intermittent contact, which finally caused a complete circuit to go. The TV that had been plugged into it still worked, but the next outlet in line didn't and half of the outlets and switches in another room were out, too. The scary part is we've always had a TV plugged in there and never had a problem in 21 yrs. Our good electrician took some time to figure out the problem. He found the problem by wiggling the plug, besides doing all the normal tests. We are handy around the house, but would never have figured that one, as we never fool with the plug behind a large TV, it stays plugged in all the time. Bite the bullet and get a pro. You'll rest easier.
(04/30/2009)

By Pinksa

Electrical Outlets Stopped Working

I had something similar happen not long ago in my kitchen. It was something amazingly simple. Maybe one of the outlets has a GFI (ground fault interrupter). Check them all and see if any of them have a little square button between the upper and lower plug outlets. Just press it to reset it. I hope this helps. I was crazy with how I was going to pay for it to be fixed, and very proud of myself when I did it on my own. (05/06/2009)

By pollylev

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November 11, 2010 Flag

I have an electrical outlet that does not work. However, there is power and the circuit breaker is fine and does not trip. Any suggestions?

By Darcy from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan

Answers:

Outlet Stopped Working

We had this happen and had to replace the outlet. Call a professional and have them come in and do it for you if you do not know how to do it. (09/08/2010)

By ScottishYankee

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September 8, 2010 Flag

Bathroom electrical outlet is not working. When tested, the wires showed no power. The fuse box did not trip. Can this be repaired?

By jdaloia from Barnegat, NJ

Answers:

Outlet Stopped Working

You may need to replace the receptacle with a new one. Shut off the electric current before installing. They are not expensive. (06/11/2009)

By Lorelei

Outlet Stopped Working

By code, bathroom outlets need to be protected by GFI protection to protect from ground faults which is where you become the path to ground and get shocked. They are usually rated for feed through so only the the first outlet in the line needs to be a GFI. I would look for a GFI outlet to see if it is tripped. It isn't always in the same room, so look at outlets everywhere, especially in the kitchen, garage, or outside which all should also be GFI protected. (06/11/2009)

By zoodad

Outlet Stopped Working

I would go to the hardware store (Home Depot , Lowe's ). Find someone in the electrical department and see what they have to say. Maybe you have a separate GFCI breaker, and at least you can see what one looks like to compare it to all your breakers. (06/12/2009)

By kwinters

Outlet Stopped Working

Dear Zoodad (42)
Thanks for the tip. I checked the GFI in a different bathroom, reset it, and the non-working outlet is back on track.

Thanks so much for the feedback.
(06/12/2009)

By jdaloia

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June 11, 2009 Flag

Out of nowhere, one outlet in the bedroom stopped working. All the other outlets in the room are okay. I checked the circuit breaker box, and none appear to be tripped. Just in case, I flipped all of them to no avail. What could have happened, and what should we do? Thanks!

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April 30, 2009 Flag

For the last 3 years, the electrical outlets in my 1/2 bath (1st floor) and 2nd bath (2nd floor) have not worked. This occurred around the same time that I was replacing the standard outlets in my home with updated decorator ones where you can't see the screws. Any help would be appreciated.

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March 17, 2009 Flag
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March 9, 2009 Flag
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In This Guide
Man fixing and electrical outlet
Repairing an Electric Outlet
Categories
Home and Garden Repair Home ElectricalJanuary 3, 2017
Guides
Plug Outlet
Getting Plugs to Stay in Outlets
Electric Outlet
Electric Outlet Feels Hot
GFCI Outlet
GFCI Outlet Keeps Tripping
changing an outlet
Changing a 15 Amp Outlet to 20 Amps
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